Breaking: Matt Rhule Fired in Carolina

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has been fired
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In a move many have expected over the first five weeks of the season, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has fired head coach Matt Rhule. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will take over as interim head coach for the rest of the season. Wilks was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. Rhule will reportedly still make $834,000 a month for the next 48 months courtesy of the Carolina Panthers.

Rhule has not won more than five games in a season. With a 1-4 start, the hope for anything positive this year has almost completely evaporated. He has fielded five QBs over three seasons with little to no offensive consistency to be found. The injuries to All-Pro RB Christian McCaffery have not helped the situation, but even when he does play, the passing attack is hit or miss. So why was Matt Rhule fired after just five weeks? Let’s take a look at the aftermath.

Why did Carolina fire Matt Rhule?

This decision felt inevitable with how the Panthers have played this season, but the one win Rhule did get this year wasn’t enough to save how anemic Carolina has looked all year. It will be interesting to see if Rhule’s firing also spells an end to quarterback Baker Mayfield’s time as the starter for the Panthers.

After this 1-4 start, Rhule sits with a career record of 11-27, the least successful head coaching stint in Panthers history. One of the main reasons people expect Tepper fired Rhule so early in the season is it gives him a chance to find a job with a college football team. 

Where Does Rhule Go Now?

Rhule and Tepper agreed to a seven-year/$62 million contract after the 2020 season. While no one knows how much guaranteed money is left in the deal, if Rhule gets a new opportunity in the upcoming NCAA hiring cycle, the Panthers would get a dollar-for-dollar credit for the $40 million buyout.

Rhule was hired due to his success and quick turnarounds at both Temple and Baylor. There are a lot of openings that have come up across the college football landscape. It seems unlikely he would fill Wisconsin’s vacancy. However, Rhule could be the perfect candidate to rebuild a program like Nebraska, Colorado, or Arizona State. 

Rhule is a phenomenal college head coach, but it seems the NFL was a bit more than he could handle. After leading Temple to an AAC conference championship in 2016, Baylor brought Rhule in to take over a Baylor team recovering from the Art Briles sexual assault scandal. The Bears went 1-11 in 2017 but bounced back to 6-6 in 2018 where he won his first bowl game, the Texas Bowl, against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

His college career culminated in an 11-1 2018 season where Baylor lost an extremely close Big 12 championship game to the Oklahoma Sooners. Rhule was hired and with Carolina before he could coach the Sugar Bowl which Baylor also lost. His track record of rebuilding college teams is clear not everyone is made for the NFL.

Editor’s Note: Per a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Carolina Panthers have also fired defensive coordinator Phil Snow

A Miami Dolphins Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For

With the 2021 NFL season winding down and things not going quite as planned, here’s a few things I’m thankful for as a Miami Dolphins Fan

miami dolphins thankful
Credit: The Phinsider

While the 2021 season has not panned out many fans had hoped, the three-game win streak has been a nice breath of fresh air but that does not mean there are not things to be thankful for as a Miami Dolphins fan.

A postseason trip seems unlikely barring an incredible season-ending run, which Miami has found themselves on the end of in previous seasons. With Week 12 upon us, the Miami Dolphins have not left much to be thankful for this season. Except, outside of a few individual performances.

As a 21st-century Dolphins fan (my age is not my fault), success and accomplishment come few and far between. However, there’s plenty to be thankful for as a fan of the orange and teal over the past 20 years. So on this Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at a few things the Miami Dolphins have made me thankful for:

As a Miami Dolphins fan I’m thankful for:

LB Zach Thomas

Let’s kick things off with one of the primary reasons I am a Dolphins fan. I was born and raised in Virginia. However, I personally disagree with the idea that Washington D.C.’s teams are assumed on Virginia citizens. So I have primarily viewed this as a fandom free-agent pass to find whatever team I want to invest emotional energy in. 

Every Sunday, I would go over to my grandfather’s house and watch that Week’s slate from 1 PM through 4 PMs, sometimes even the night game. So one Sunday early on, I had my grandfather list me all the NFL teams. As a ten-year-old does, I latched onto a team with my favorite color, orange, and prominent player sharing my first name, Zach. 

Zach Thomas interestingly comes up again as the five-time first-team All-Pro linebacker was recently named a semifinalist for the NFL Hall of Fame. There are too many discussion points that highlight how his omission from the Hall is absurd at this point. But I am thankful for Thomas’ play spurring his name into households and leading to my Fins fandom. 

WR Greg Camarillo

Let’s go in an opposite direction here: I’m thankful for WR Greg Camarillo for saving Miami from being the Detroit Lions. Before every channel on the TV was broadcast in high definition, yeah, 2007, the Dolphins had quite a rough season. Back in 2007, if you weren’t playing good football, you weren’t getting the HD treatment, but my grandfather had the NFL Sunday Ticket. The Dolphins were on TV, but that doesn’t mean the quality was great. 

I watched every week of the 2007 season, hoping, praying for a win. Then in seemingly the last moment possible, Week 15 rolled around a showdown at Dolphins Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens. Coming into the game 0-13, not many expected a surprise overtime upset. But after Matt Stover missed a 44-yard field goal, Camarillo took a mid-level pass 65-yards to the house to snap the winless streak. Miami finished 1-15 but saved the franchise from the embarrassment of the dread 0-16 season. 

You knew this was coming: The Miami Miracle.

As stated earlier, I’m a 21st-century Dolphins fan, not a lot of success to draw upon. The Adam Gase Era was filled with ups and downs, but despite missing the playoffs and Gase’s inevitable firing in 2018, things somewhat ended nicely? Picture this, Week 14, the postseason looks murkier and murkier. The Tom Brady-led Patriots are 9-3 and primed for another playoff run. What solves the situation? An absolutely bonkers last-second 69-yard touchdown to win the game by one point. 

The only player who touched the ball on that play that is still on the team is WR Devante Parker. The Miracle in Miami will forever live in Miami Dolphins history. Some might scoff at the idea that a regular-season game could mean so much, but sometimes people need something to hold onto. If that means beating your bitter rival in a meaningless game that could hurt draft position, so be it. It was fun, fabulous, and I am thankful for the Miami Dolphins giving me quite a few jaw-dropping fandom moments throughout this journey. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Follow Zachary Knerr on Twitter

Dolphins vs Jaguars: Week 6 Preview

Dolphins vs Jaguars
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

This Florida bowl kicks off across the pond. The Jacksonville Jaguars remain winless while the Miami Dolphins have struggled in QB Tua Tagovailoa’s absence. Continue reading for a Dolphins vs Jaguars preview which includes all the information you need before this 9:30 AM ET Week 6 kickoff.

  • Date: Sunday, October 17
  • Time: 9:30 ET (14:30 UK Time)
  • Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
  • TV: CBS and NFL Gamepass International
  • Record: Miami Dolphins (1-4) vs Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)

Week 3 Recap:

In Jacoby Brissett’s final start of the season for  Miami, the Dolphins folded against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 5. The game was close late in the third quarter after a Dolphins touchdown drive making the score 24-17. However, the Buccaneers marched down the field killing the rest of the third quarter and scoring with ease to put the game out of reach. 

In what seems to be a theme so far this season, the Dolphins’ efforts come too late. After scoring 10 points to begin the first quarter, they were held scoreless from 3:16 left in the first quarter until 6:56 left in the third. Miami has been outscored 44-3 in the second quarter so far this season. The offense has to start performing and after some progression from the offensive line, Tua’s return under center can hopefully help jump-start this offense a bit. Offensive consistency is one of the keys to success for Miami in this Dolphins vs Jaguars preview.

Expectation heading into Week 6:

Both the Jaguars and Dolphins have struggled this season, however, there’s a bit more disappointment in Miami. This was supposed to be a playoff-caliber team, but various injuries and below-average performances have dug the Dolphins a 1-4 hole to climb out. They start that climb in Week 6. 

Keys to Success:

There are three keys to success for Miami in this Dolphins vs Jaguars preview:

1. Force Turnovers

Miami’s game with a turnover streak ended in Week 5 at 26 consecutive games. Now it’s time to start it again against Jaguars rookie QB Trevor Lawrence. While Lawrence has been improving every week, he still makes his fair share of rookie mistakes. He’s thrown eight interceptions and fumbled twice through five weeks. All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard may be out, but there are plenty of hungry hands on the defense ready to take the ball away. Couple that with defensive tackle Raekwon Davis shaking the rust off in Week 5 and the Dolphins defense is more than capable of taking on this 

2. Get this offense rolling

Things looked to be going in the right direction in Week 5 after Miami scored 10 points on their first two drives. However, they only crossed half field one more time for the remainder of the second half and fumbled the ball the only time they did. The offensive line is slowly progressing as the coaching staff continues to find the right spots for its developing players. Tackle Liam Eichenberg specifically has been a bright spot this season.

As previously stated, Tua returns as the Dolphins QB in Week 6 against the Jaguars. While wins are not a QB stat, Miami head coach Brian Flores has a much better record when Tua starts for the Dolphins. While he’ll be without WR Devante Parker, Tua still has WRs Jaylen Waddle and Preston Williams, TE Mike Gesicki, and RBs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed to target. It’s time to let this offense loose.

3. Play disciplined football

The Miami Dolphins were one of the least penalized teams in the NFL during the 2020 regular season. The Dolphins drew just 73 flags through 16 games, the third least. Through five weeks in 2021, Miami has had 32 penalties accepted so far this season. That’s 43.8% of their 2020 season total in less than half the time.

They are coming at inopportune times as well. Killing drives for the offense, giving the opposing offense life on a dead drive, even extending opponents’ drives through special teams’ errors. Things have been sloppy for the Dolphins to start the season. And we haven’t even touched the -2 2021 turnover differential which has dropped like a rock from +9 a season ago. Miami needs to clean up their play on the field, and this game against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars gives them an opportunity. 

Score Predictions:

The Dolphins don’t have much to celebrate so far this season, but it’s more than their opponent. In what should be one of the easiest games of the season the Dolphins desperately need a win in Week 6. It will revolve around the offense scoring and sustaining offensive success.Check out the ATB Dolphins staff predictions below:

Dolphins vs. Jaguars preview conclusion

Telling you this is a must-win game seems like a waste of time. If Miami loses to Jacksonville there’s really no hope for the rest of this season and Miami should start rooting for whoever plays the San Francisco 49ers every week (Miami acquired the 49ers 2022 first-round pick and it’s their only 2022 first-round pick).

NFL Week 5: Dolphins vs. Buccaneers Preview

Week 5 of the NFL season is here! After a rocky start to begin the 2021 season for Miami, can the Dolphins win against the Buccaneers?

Dolphins vs Buccaneers

After a disappointing 27-17 Week 4 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Miami Dolphins head to Raymond James Stadium to take on the reigning Super-Bowl Champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett remains under center for Miami as Tua Tagovailoa is unable to return until Week 6. Take a look below for the start time, channel, and live stream information,, as well as a preview for the Dolphins vs Buccaneers. 

Who do the Miami Dolphins play?

  • Game: Miami Dolphins vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
  • Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, Florida

Miami Dolphins Gameday | Start time, channel, live stream

  • Start time: 1 PM ET
  • Channel: CBS
  • Live Streams:
    • Sling
    • Hulu + Live TV
    • fuboTV
    • YouTubeTV

Dolphins vs Buccaneers Preview

One more week until Tua’s return, and this was supposed to be the hardest game of his three week absence. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to play good football. Going 3-1 so far this season, QB Tom Brady continues to lead the offense at a high level.

The Dolphins defense is more than familiar with Brady under center. However, this will be the first time in a while where the receiving core around Brady is as solid as himself. This Dolphins’ defense can hold the Bucs’ offense, but the question is how long and will they receive any support. 

Speaking of support, any measly chance of winning this game hinges solely on the production of the offense. Miami’s offense was largely inept in their Week 4 loss, failing to find any real momentum until the fourth quarter.

If Brissett opens things up early to guys like rookie WR Jaylen Waddle and TE Mike Gesicki, the Dolphins might put up a fight. But, being down WR Will Fuller and possibly Devante Parker do not help those chance.

Let’s be honest here for a second folks, this Dolphins vs. Bucs preview seems pretty one-sided. That is mostly because these two teams are currently on opposite ends of the spectrum in the football world. But you know what they say Fins fans, any given Sunday.. Tampa wins this game with ease, but Miami at least scores points this time: Bucs 31, Miami 17.

Follow Zachary Knerr on Twitter

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Is there any life left for the Miami Dolphins’ playoff chances?

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After the Miami Dolphins Week 1 victory over the New England Patriots, the season has not gone quite as expected. While Week 1 left many questioning the Dolphins’ offensive production, a win came nonetheless. After starting QB Tua Tagovailoa was knocked out of the Dolphins Week 2 matchup against the Buffalo Bills after playing nine snaps, those questions were replaced with much harder ones. Since having 10:41 left on the clock in the first quarter of Week 2, fans seem to be watching the Miami Dolphins playoff chances fade away. But just how low are they? 

Status of the Miami Dolphins offense

Week 3 featured back-up QB Jacoby Brissett’s first start during Tua’s absence with fractured ribs. Despite coming playing in relief of Tua in Week 2, Brissett still couldn’t get the offense moving during the Bills 35-0 shellacking of Miami. After two early touchdowns for the Dolphins in Week 3, it looked like things were heading for another tragic day. The Las Vegas Raiders scored 25 unanswered points, including a safety featuring some very questionable decision-making. Miami roared back into the game, tying it at the end of regulation, but fell short to the Raiders 31-28 in overtime. 

There is some good news for Miami. First, after being placed on the injured reserve after Week 2, Tua should be cleared to return for Miami’s Week 6 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Secondly, Brissett is a solid back-up should be able to snag one win in Tua’s absence. Lastly, the defense is continuing to force turnovers and make things difficult for their opponents. The points allowed total looks bad, but when a defense is asked to go out repeatedly without support from its offense, the opponent will tire them out quickly.

Now let’s get into the bad news. The offensive line is still a disaster. Buffalo sacked the QB six times in Week 2, while the Raiders snagged two of their own and forced a safety. The unit as a whole is the Achilles heel of this Dolphins squad and holds the key to their playoff chances. If they stand any chance of making it to the 2021 postseason they need to make some changes in the offensive trenches immediately.

A look at the rest of the Dolphins’ season

While things seem to be trending down, a look at the rest of the schedule does not necessarily spell doom for the Miami Dolphins’ playoff chances. Before we jump into this, it is worth noting that it is still very early in the season. However, here’s the rest of the Dolphins 2021 regular-season schedule:

  • Week 4: vs. Indianapolis Colts
  • Week 5: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Week 6: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Week 7: vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • Week 8: @ Buffalo Bills
  • Week 9: vs. Houston Texans
  • Week 10: vs. Baltimore Ravens
  • Week 11: @ New York Jets
  • Week 12: vs. Carolina Panthers
  • Week 13: vs. New York Giants
  • Week 14: Bye Week
  • Week 15: vs. New York Jets
  • Week 16: @ New Orleans Saints
  • Week 17: @ Tennessee Titans
  • Week 18: vs. New England

After going through this schedule a few times, eight wins does not feel remotely out of the question. Further, one can plausibly see up to ten wins depending on how the game script goes. Let’s start with the assumed losses. Games against the Buccaneers, Bills, Ravens, and Titans seem out of reach for this offense to keep up with in its current state.

Miami will be without Tagovailoa in Week 5 against Tampa Bay. After failing to score a single point at home against the Bills, a win in Buffalo is a pipe dream in Week 8. Miami has not defeated Baltimore since 2015, with Lamar Jackson under center, that drought won’t be quenched any time soon. Tennessee feels like the closest competition out of this group, but I expect to see a very different Titans team in Week 17 than we see now. 

The 10 crucial games for the Miami Dolphins’ playoff chances

The rest of these games have the potential to be won by Miami. The combined record of these opponents (excluding Jacksonville’s Week 4 Thursday night loss) is 8-22 featuring four winless teams, one of which they play twice. The only games that will be a challenge are the Week 12 matchup versus the Panthers and their Week 16 tilt against the Saints. 

Panthers QB Sam Darnold has become a completely different signal-caller than the Dolphins saw in New York. Will they still be able to make him see the ghosts they’ve made him see in his past duels with this Dolphins defense?

Another key to this game will be the status of RB Christian McCaffrey. Carolina was forced to completely change its offensive game plan after losing McCaffery in their Week 3 win over the Texans. Hamstrings can be finicky. However, the Panthers’ RB should remain out until at least Week 6. They face off six weeks later, but given McCaffrey’s injury struggles last season, anything can happen.

Now for the second game can stifle the Miami Dolphins’ playoff chances. Winning against Carolina and New Orleans, as well as the other eight, leaves this team with an 11-6 record. Who comes out victorious in Week 16: Sean Payton’s offense or Brian Flores’ defense might just be the precursor to whether or not Miami makes the playoffs.

If Miami can fluster Saints QB Jameis Winston and force the bad Winston to come out, Miami can win this game. However, if Sean Payton and company come out on fire, the Dolphins offense can’t keep up with a juggernaut.

So what are the Miami Dolphins’ playoff chances?

It’s about a coin flip right now. The sky might be falling, but as stated earlier, it is only Week 4. A win over the Indianapolis Colts this week, who are missing a number of important starters, would kick things off in the right direction. For Dolphins fans, the magic number is five. This team needs to win at least nine of its last 14 games, preferably 10. Five losses between now and the end of the season leaves Miami with a 10-7 record. Anything more and the Miami Dolphins’ playoff chances seem very unlikely.